Augmentation of the breasts with prosthetic breast implants is one of the most common procedures done by plastic surgeons. Each year, 75,000-100,000 women elect to have breast augmentation. The modern era of breast augmentation began in 1963, and the popularity of this operation has not been mitigated by the medical-legal controversies involving silicone gel-filled implants in the early 1990’s. Surveys have shown that women who have had breast augmentation are among the most satisfied aesthetic surgery patients.
Creating a long-lasting, soft, and natural augmented breast is still a challenge despite the development of better implants and new surgical techniques. One of the most frustrating problems that occasionally happen with breast implants is a condition called “capsular contracture”. This is when your body’s natural scar barrier that is formed around the implant begins to “contract” or “tighten down” around the implant. This may lead to a hard, distorted and painful condition. It may occur in 5-50% of patients depending on the type of implant and the position of the implant. There is no definite solution for this problem. If the firmness is excessive, a revision can be done at which time the implant and surrounding scar tissue are removed, and a new implant placed. If capsular contracture recurs after revision, the patient either lives with the problem or has the implants removed. Fortunately, by using textured surface implants and placing the implants under the muscle, the chance of severe capsular contracture is rare.
Most patients that request this operation are physically fit, emotionally stable, intelligent, active and socially involved individuals that want to look better in their clothes and swim-wear. They have very realistic expectations. Unhappy patients with deep-seated feelings of inferiority and unworthiness and patients undergoing marital difficulties or other stressful family or work related problems are not good candidates for this procedure. Surgery and recovery are stressful enough, so don’t complicate your life. Some women request this procedure in the mistaken belief that it will enhance their careers. Although a number of models and actresses have had breast implants, the procedure itself certainly does not guarantee stardom. Augmentation mammoplasty only produces larger breasts; it does not and cannot produce a major transformation in the person’s life-style or social situation.
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